Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in Ford v Ferrari, a drama/biopic film based on the remarkable true story about Ford Motor Company’s attempt to create the world’s fastest car. Check out Ralph Potts’ Ultra HD Blu-ray review from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:
Extras:
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

95
Details:

Studio and Year: Fox - 2019
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 152 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Chtistian Bale, Matt Damon, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts
Directed by: James Mangold
Music by: Marco Beltrami, Buck Sanders
Written by: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller
Region Code: A

Release Date: February 11, 2020
"Based on the Incredible True Story"
Synopsis:

“Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in Ford v Ferrari, a drama/biopic film based on the remarkable true story about Ford Motor Company’s attempt to create the world’s fastest car.” – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

My Take:

American car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and the fearless British-born driver Ken Miles (Bale), together battled corporate interference and the laws of physics to build a revolutionary race car and take on Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.

This is a fascinating film/story that seems to capture the spirit of the uncompromising intensity of Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles, both apart and together. At its heart Ford v Ferrari is a character driven film but, likewise there is a rich and raw quality to the thematic details which underscores the drama. The script does a superlative job drawing the characters of Ken and Shelby (as most call him) and inserting them within the narrative framework. Likewise, the handling of the story’s integral players in Henry Ford II (or “Deuce”), Lee Iacocca, Peter Miles (Kens son) and Leo Beebe that surround them is outstanding.

The film does a wonderful job of setting the stage for its various conflicts, letting them unfold and allowing the audience to bask in the outcome, good or bad. We get to see not only the friendship and respect between Ken and Shelby but, the depth surrounding what made them tick. They are two completely different archetypes hewn from the same rock that have converged. Over the course of the film the lines between what makes them different blurs, not so much through transference but, with an empathetic understanding derived from a perspective seen through each man’s eyes.

What remains is the thrill of seeing their masterpiece built/tested and unleashed. The racing sequences are marvelously shot and choreographed. Director James Mangold and director of photography Phedon Papamichael draw the audience in with tight camera work, white knuckle flinching moments and spot on editing that captures some of the raw emotion and power of the on-field driving/competition. Both Christian Bale and Matt Damon are to be commended on their portrayals of Ken and Shelby.

Ford v Ferrari is as big as its biographical subjects. I loved its visceral honesty and evocative drama which when mated with its subtly crafted yet completely involving action made for a compelling and gratifying film experience that reminds me why I am a film enthusiast.

Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for some language and peril.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 
Dolby Atmos Rating: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 
Ford v Ferrari comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Ford v Ferrari was rendered from a 4.5K source and finished on a 2K DI. This period film is essentially colorful throughout, and the Ultra HD rendering makes the most of its elements. With a discernible increase in detail and emboldened chromatic highlights the image appears sharper and vibrant when compared to the 1080p version. Primary colors are pleasingly rich while whites appear gradational and punchy. The spectrum of secondary colors is vividly reproduced as well.

The sequence when Shelby leaves the doctor’s office provides a glimpse of what it to come, but it’s the first scene at the race track, between Ken and Shelby, that offers the bonus that the presentation’s wide color gamut has to offer. The combination of rich color, sepia, and gradational whites look great.

I also enjoyed the implementation of HDR. The added dimension in blacks, and shadows during the low-level scenes, such as the one where Ken tests out the first prototype, is immediately noticeable. There are key sequences where the cinematography makes use of shadows, streaming light and a mix of light/dark elements, like the ones that take place at Le Mans in the dark. It’s application here is used very well, drawing upon HDR’s ability to create stark contrast between the two. The blend of shadow detail/depth of field offset by the presence of light at varying levels, looked very natural.

The film has a variety of sequences that make use of close up camera angles that show off the superb rendering of detail. The exterior sequences featured in the film have appreciable depth which has an enriching, and eye-catching aesthetic. The difference between viewing Ford v Ferrari in high definition and Ultra HD isn't stark but, there is no question that it benefitted from the increase in resolution, emboldened color and high dynamic range treatment.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that makes steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, discrete effects and music accompaniment. This is done to excellent effect, creating a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen in an involving and sometime visceral fashion. This is a surprisingly good presentation that incorporates a plethora of head turning effects that bring the entire system platform to life. The sequences involving the racing and race car prototype tests, contain a host of effects, near field pans and, ambient extension that rotate around the soundstage, shifting overhead, passing by at ear level and coming directly at the listening position.

It's not just the action that sounds great either. On several occasions while watching, I found myself saying aloud (with a smile on my face) this mix sounds great. This is an entertaining Atmos presentation that brings everything together in a resplendent blend of room traversing, and well-balanced sound that shows what the format is capable of.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 
Audio: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA
Ford v Ferrari comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

This is a great looking new release title from Fox. Images onscreen exhibit plenty of fine rendering and crisp definition that on occasion rises to higher levels especially during close ups which can be very revealing. Long range shots appear resolute with good dimensional depth and notable object detail. Bright exterior segments are punchy with crisp dynamic whites and appreciable texture. Colors are vivid, with oversaturated primaries, notably green, that appear pleasing in high definition. Fleshtones are tonally divergent and appear predominantly lifelike in depiction. Blacks are respectable and shadow detail is revealing of appreciable levels of delineation in dark backgrounds and low lighting.

As with all of Fox’s Ultra HD Blu-ray releases, the bundled Blu-ray version of Ford v Ferrari contains a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, rather than a Dolby Atmos mix, which is found only on the UHD version, leaving those without an Ultra HD capable set up, but with immersive sound capabilities, out in the cold. It would be nice to see future Ultra HD Combo Packs that combine the two.

Like the video presentation, the 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack doesn’t disappoint. This is an entertaining audio presentation that utilizes the entire system to create a theater like experience. Sound staging is excellent as both the front and rear channels are seamlessly integrated. Sound effects traverse the room during the racing sequences. Dynamics are energy filled and impact felt with discerning articulation and resolute clarity. There is no ultra-low frequency content contained here however where appropriate there is ample bass tactility and room resonating response that will keep your subwoofer thumping along. Dialogue has excellent soundstage presence with clear, defining vocal character and excellent room penetration. This is a terrific audio/video presentation that complimented the subject matter.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Ford v Ferrari Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Ford v Ferrari Blu-ray
  • Bringing the Rivalry to Life – 8-Part Documentary
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Based on the true story Ford v Ferrari is a superbly crafted and engagingly executed biopic that tells the compelling story of two men that set out to change the face of car racing at the Le Mans in France. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring excellent Ultra HD video, terrific lossless surround sound, including an engaging Dolby Atmos immersive mix, and a middling supplemental set. Ford v Ferrari is simply a must have for film and home theater enthusiasts. Enjoy!
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from  Portrait.com )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems